Edmonton Oil Kings select Joe Iginla, son of obscure former NHLer, in WHL Bantam Draft
Photo credit:Candice Ward/USA Today Sports
By Ryan Pike6 months ago
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The 2023 edition of the Western Hockey League’s annual bantam draft unfolded on Thursday morning, with the WHL’s member clubs restocking their cupboards with 2008-born prospects. Among those selected was forward Joe Iginla, of the Rink Hockey Academy, taken at 12th overall by the Edmonton Oil Kings just one pick after the Calgary Hitmen.
Joe Iginla is, of course, the youngest son of long-time Calgary Flames forward (and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee) Jarome Iginla.
The Hitmen selected centre Noah Kosick at 11th overall, which allowed Iginla to slide to Edmonton at 12th. The son of longtime European pro Mark Kosick, the younger Kosick had 45 points in 32 games in the CSSHL U18 league for Pacific Coast Academy. Iginla had 65 points in 27 games in the CSSHL U15 league for Rink Hockey Academy.
Here’s a bit of context, courtesy friend of the site Derek Neumeier:
Joe’s older brother, Tij, was selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds at ninth overall in the 2012 Bantam Draft. Joe and Tij’s older sister, Jade, just finished her freshman season at Brown University.
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So, Joe Iginla is flat-out good. Very good in lower levels, projects as a very good WHLer. That’s why he was a first-rounder. Kosick has a bunch of potentially-mitigating factors involved in his development – among them his size (listed at 5’4″) and the chance he still might go to the NCAA – but the Hitmen opted for a home-run swing type of pick with him because he’s been excellent offensively at lower levels of hockey.
Here’s Alan Caldwell, a fountain of WHL information, with even more context:
In other words: yeah, the Hitmen are gambling that Kosick (a) comes to the WHL instead of the NCAA and (b) becomes anything close to what he’s been at lower levels. Iginla is likely a “safer” pick and has the name recognition factor as well. It’s a gamble. But it’s also a draft featuring players who are 14 and 15 years of age: every pick is a gamble when you’re trying to project a young person’s on and off-ice development.
Best of luck to Joe Iginla with the Oil Kings. We will watch his WHL career with great interest.
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